SIA chief Goh Choon Phong says airline's digital push is not a substitute for service excellence

National carrier Singapore Airlines hopes to develop smart solutions to boost the efficiency of aircraft maintenance processes.
National carrier Singapore Airlines hopes to develop smart solutions to boost the efficiency of aircraft maintenance processes.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - National carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) officially opened its digital innovation lab KrisLab on Tuesday (Jan 29), assuring its customers that the push for innovation and smart solutions will not be at their expense.

Speaking at the SIA Group Sports Club near Changi Airport, the airline's chief executive Goh Choon Phong said: "Digital must be an enabler of the SIA experience, rather than a substitute for what we are best known for - service excellence.

"We are fully embracing digitalisation and technology in our business operations in ways that will enhance the pleasure of travel for our customers.

"We aim to enrich every aspect of the way that our customers experience SIA - from pre-flight, in-flight to post-flight."

With KrisLab - which was officially opened by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing - staff have a workspace to develop innovative ideas and co-innovate with external partners, start-ups, established incubators and accelerators.

The initiative is part of SIA's Digital Innovation Blueprint which was launched a year ago.

Using data analytics, Internet of Things, as well as virtual and augmented reality, a key aim of the digital push is to improve service standards, for example by offering customers a more personalised level of service based on their travel patterns and habits, as well as likes and dislikes.

 
 
 

The airline also hopes to develop smart solutions to boost the efficiency of aircraft maintenance processes.

This will help lower maintenance costs and decrease aircraft delays, which will also benefit travellers.

SIA is partnering organisations such as the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and the National University of Singapore, with support from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Economic Development Board.

At the lab, staff can use and explore technologies such as blockchain, mixed reality devices, artificial intelligence and data analytics, among others, to develop their digital initiatives.

Once an idea has been approved, it will receive seed funding.

The digital innovation lab team will then provide expertise to help develop the idea into a prototype before it moves to the implementation stage.

One of the innovations now being explored at KrisLab involves the use of virtual reality technology to allow designers to step on board a plane and explore or change future cabin design concepts quickly.

KrisLab has already received more than 180 ideas from SIA employees, out of which 50 have been developed into prototypes.

Some of them were featured during the launch.

The KrisLab team has also hosted four rounds of the SIA AppChallenge, where teams from all over the world are invited to compete in an innovation challenge to develop applications that could prove beneficial to SIA and its operations.

The last round attracted more than 1,500 participants from over 70 countries.